The UW Center for Cooperatives occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial. In an 1832 treaty, the Ho-Chunk were forced to cede this territory. Decades of ethnic cleansing followed when both the federal and state government repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, sought to forcibly remove the Ho-Chunk from Wisconsin.
We acknowledge the circumstances that led to the forced removal of the Ho-Chunk people and honor their legacy of resistance and resilience. We humbly approach our shared future and collaboration with a recognition of this history of colonization.
We recognize and respect the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation and the other eleven First Nations that reside in the boundaries of the state of Wisconsin. We encourage you to visit their websites for more information:
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Brothertown Indian Nation, Forest County Potawatomi Community, Ho-Chunk Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Sokaogon Chippewa Community, St. Croix Chippewa Community, and Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.
Tribal communities have a long history of cooperation and collective ownership. According to the Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, “the cooperative model aligns with Indigenous values and fits into the perspective of how Indigenous peoples view the world with an understanding of connectedness and interdependence of all elements of being. Indigenous people have worked together in achieving common goals to sustain livelihoods and develop communities and have worked collaboratively and resiliently toward economic prosperity, self-determination and self-sustainability.”
Here are a few examples of the many indigenous cooperatives in Wisconsin and the United States:
- Intertribal Maple Syrup Producers Cooperative is a producer cooperative that supports and promotes the vitality of Indigenous maple sugar traditions and commerce.
- Lac Courte Oreilles Federal Credit Union is a financial cooperative that serves members of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe in Hayward, WI.
- Native Artists United is a women-owned Native cooperative formed by local Native artists interested in perpetuating and revitalizing Native art and creating a local Native-based art economy. With its headquarters in Mandan, North Dakota, the cooperative represents Native artists from across the country.
- Umpqua Indian Utility Cooperative is a consumer cooperative that serves the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians in Southwestern Oregon. The cooperative provides various utility services such as electricity, water, sewer, and pumping services.
- Alaska Native Industries Cooperative Association, Inc. is a wholesale purchasing and service cooperative serving members located in rural Alaska.
Resources and Organizations Supporting Tribal Cooperatives
Beginning the Cooperative Journey Together: A Guide to Tribal Community Cooperative Development, The Minnesota Indian Business Alliance (MNIBA), 2020.
Local People, Local Solutions: A Guide to Cooperative Development in Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN) and the Saskatchewan Co-operative Association (SCA), 2015.
Organizations and Technical Service Providers
Cooperatives First (Canada)